Hooton on Cunliffe

February 5th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

writes in NBR:

David Shearer has again faced down his rival, . Now he must decide what to do with him. …

Despite having been confirmed as party leader three times in a little over a year, Mr Shearer can have no confidence that Mr Cunliffe will accept today’s result by behaving any differently than his record suggests.

There is no point trying to unify the party by granting the New Lynn MP a senior role. The Clark/Cullen or Brash/English olive-branch approach just won’t work.

Mr Shearer should look instead at how Mr Key and Mr English ruthlessly despatched Dr Brash in 2006 as his model.

By getting him out of parliament altogether, Mr Key made sure Dr Brash could not become a focal point for any National MPs who were uncomfortable with the centrist direction he intended to take the party.

Any suggestion Dr Brash might ever return to the leadership was pre-emptively void and National was accordingly unified around the new direction Mr Key and Mr English had decided to take the party.

Mr Cunliffe and his crew have been a drag on Labour’s ability to unify for four years and there is no sign they have any intention of changing. The best way for Mr Shearer to unify the party is to cut his throat now by indicating he will never be returned to a senior role.

 If it leads to a byelection in New Lynn, so much the better. Byelections are always good for oppositions and Mr Shearer’s promise of 100,000 cheap houses is bound to be popular among Labour voters out west.

I disagree with Matthew on this. I think that Shearer should give Cunliffe a meaningful portfolio in the reshuffle, and offer him a path back the front bench.  Of course he can not return to the front bench immediately, but there should be a path back. The best thing to do would be to give him a chunky portfolio, but away from anything economic as that may allow him to upstage Parker.

Health wouldn’t be a bad pick for Cunliffe. He is a former Minister. No other health spokesperson (including Grant Robertson) has come close to ruffling Tony Ryall. If Cunliffe could hurt the Government on health, that would be the sort of win that would make it possible to then put him back on the front bench.

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14 Responses to “Hooton on Cunliffe”

  1. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    Shearepisos needs to assert his rugged manliness by eviscerating his opponent. I’m not sure half measures will work.

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  2. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    He doesnt have it in him. He is a conciliator. Key doesnt have the nasty exterior of the shebeast, but he is quite ruthless when it comes to this, and this is politics, its what has to be done.

    In charge of that bunch of morons, Shearer would be lucky to get agreement on sauces on offer at the BBQ, let alone a meaningful reshuffle. The only real question is if labour gain a coalition success in the next election how long he is allowed to lead before they top him.

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  3. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    Cunners is one of the best and brightest they have…can they afford to give him a DCM? I mean..and keep Mallard? LOL

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  4. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Shearer won’t cut it long term, everyone knows that, probably Shearer included. So he needs to sit them down and explain that they need to:
    a) See out the election. They’re not chopping and changing now, nobody is ready nor has the support
    b) Start prepping the successors. The potentials are Little, Robertson, Cunliffe, any others?
    c) All the potential successors are being given big roles. They cannot make any progress by sniping at each other, the only thing that will be rewarded is making an impact on the government
    d) There is a strategy meeting with just those 4 people each week, and they jointly run the show

    Publicly, they clearly cannot go with this message. But Shearer could give some messages like “I want to make my mark then leave, I’m not planning to be around forever, I did something else before politics, and I plan to do something else afterwards” etc etc. And talk about the need for Labour to have strong succession planning, make sure that he leaves the party better than he found it, all good management speak that means “I’m picking my successors.”

    Then the focus can shift back to who is actually doing a good job, not who is the handiest with the knife.

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  5. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    PaulL, if Shearer had the brainpower to do that lot he would actually be dangerous!

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  6. Scott Chris (6,139 comments) says:

    I disagree with Matthew on this. I think that Shearer should give Cunliffe a meaningful portfolio in the reshuffle, and offer him a path back the front bench.

    Yes, keep your friends close, your enemies even closer.

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  7. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    From what I’ve heard Cunliffe has made too many enemies, he and his agents have made too many mistakes, and he is not attractive to voters (he can look smarmy and untrustworthy). So Labour would be better to show him the door and keep booting him up the bum until he leaves.

    The loyal troops at The Standard would hissy fit but get over it instead of waging continuous undermining attempts.

    It would leave Labour caucus even thinner in ability but Cunliffe appears not to be a team player unless it’s his team. So it would only solve one problem.

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  8. Binders full of women (4 comments) says:

    Bring back Cunners .. if only for comic relief. (Youtube Cunliffe Avondale Market)

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  9. orewa1 (410 comments) says:

    Yes, give him health. NZ is far too short of politicians of any persuasion with a modicum of intelligence to petulantly throw good ones to the wolves. Cunliffe will learn, even if he hasnt already. And there are a multitude of unturned stones in health.

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  10. tvb (4,422 comments) says:

    Cunliffe is a problem and his talents needs to be utilized. If Cunliffe wishes to be disloyal then he cannot be promoted. But there are a number of old has-beens in that caucus who need to move on. I include Annette King, Phil Goff, Ruth Dyson, Trevor Mallard, Horomia, Lianne Dalziel. Then you have under performers. And I include Clayton Cosgrove, Nania Mahuta, a few obscure MPs that no -one has heard of. All these need to be shown the door.Opposition is the time to have a real good clean out of the rubbish. In Government it is difficult to make changes, though John Key managed it with a couple of average performers and there will be a couple more later in the year. But let us see how much authority Shearer really has. If he consults widely that will be a sign of weakness. He just needs to act and be a Leader and ready the party for Government.

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  11. duggledog (1,558 comments) says:

    I think DPF’s post on the Maori voters yesterday spoke volumes. They vote Labour, but so many don’t know who the leader is. It could be Cunliffe and they still wouldn’t know.
    Like pretty much all the regular working joe Labour voters I know, they often have no idea why they do this, other than that their dad used to. They have a vague expectation hard wired into them that Labour looks after the Ordinary Working Man. Which of course they don’t as we all know.

    When I explain to them in simple terms the makeup of today’s Labour list, what Helen Clark did to their ‘bottom line’ (it takes a while and they generally don’t like hearing it) etc, most of them are really surprised.

    I think John Key could exploit this ignorance much more than he has. I find it quite easy.

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  12. Johnboy (16,576 comments) says:

    If I was Shearer I would just make sure Cunliffe got his “T” back in perpetuity! :)

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  13. alex (304 comments) says:

    Let’s not forget that neither Hooten nor Farrar are impartial commentators, and as such any advice they give Labour should be taken with a grain of salt.

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  14. pq (728 comments) says:

    above comment is :tvb (3,073) Says:February 5th, 2013 at 6:38 pm
    quote below
    ” Cunliffe is a problem and his talents needs to be utilized. If Cunliffe wishes to be disloyal then he cannot be promoted. But there are a number of old has-beens in that caucus who need to move on. I include Annette King, Phil Goff, Ruth Dyson, Trevor Mallard, Horomia, Lianne Dalziel. Then you have under performers. And I include Clayton Cosgrove, Nania Mahuta, a few obscure MPs that no -one has heard of. All these need to be shown the door.Opposition is the time to have a real good clean out of the rubbish. In Government it is difficult to make changes, though John Key managed it with a couple of average performers and there will be a couple more later in the year. But let us see how much authority Shearer really has. If he consults widely that will be a sign of weakness. He just needs to act and be a Leader and ready the party for Government.”

    pq reply is how many times do we have to stare at the truth
    NZ Nat = 42% NZ Labour = 35%
    NZ Green = 09% NZ First = 07%

    add figures here and then come back
    we have a problem in Rangiora now that Kate and Clayton are finished

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